22.09.2022
Hawthorn racism saga: Indigenous advocate Ben Abbatangelo weighs in on AFL scandal on The Project

A former elite cricketer turned Indigenous advocate fears the AFL may not have the capability to ‘rejuvenate and re-imagine’ in the wake of the latest racism saga before issuing a powerful message.

As Melbourne prepares to host the AFL grand final for the first time in three years, reports about the alleged historical mistreatment of several Indigenous players at Hawthorn have sent shockwaves through the code.

The AFL has launched an investigation into former senior coaching staff’s alleged handling of several Indigenous players and their families during their time at the Hawks.

Gunaikurnai man and former Melbourne Stars player Ben Abbatangelo’s immediate thoughts were with Indigenous families affected when he read about the ‘inhumane’ allegations on Wednesday.

He described the claims as incomprehensible and questioned whether the dystopia created for Indigenous people can be reformed by AFL administrators.

‘I’ve got a lot of history on my side that says it’s incapable,’ he told The Project.

‘It’s not just the microcosm of what’s happening in the change rooms, it’s everything connected to it.

‘And the people that are involved currently, who are presiding over this, I don’t think have the capability to rejuvenate, re-imagine a code that should be so joyous.’

The former Victorian Indigenous captain and Stars rookie ended the segment with a poignant message.

‘Maybe we could just stop killing blackfellas – that would be helpful and appreciated,’ he said.

The allegations emerged on a day Tiwi Islanders won a landmark case in the Federal Court for drilling to be halted at a massive gas project northwest of Darwin.

They won against Australia’s second-largest independent gas producer Santos, which is a long time supporter of the AFL and has a sponsorship deal with Port Adelaide in the AFLW.

Earlier in the segment, Abbatangelo also shared harrowing insight into how other First Nations people were feeling about the allegations.

‘There’s a lot of people that from the community that bear the brunt of all this stuff day to day and find it really difficult to un-see the things that you see and un-feel the things that you feel,’ he explained.

‘So, to wake up and read that, I think it’s an avalanche of emotions and feelings that are hard to describe because it’s so inhumane.

‘It’s immediately thinking about the people involved, the people that have been impacted and yeah, then almost like, you have this moment and, for me, it’s like alright, you’ve stepped out of the dream and let’s get ready for the apocalypse and more of the nightmare.’

‘There’s something interesting in the blindness for a society that has been built on racism and that has seen it so clearly, has this pervasive ability to then be blind to the things that they’ve created.

Abbatangelo admitted he has never experienced what allegedly occurred to these young men and women and their families, which he described as beyond comprehension.

‘But I think every First Nations person that lives on this continent and its islands that moves through any professional setting has got a lot of skeletons in their closet. Mine aren’t to the extent of that, but they are within the same playing field and within the same realm.’

Abbatangelo called for an independent inquiry to go beyond the AFL and everything connected to the code.

‘Should there be more to that independence and the scope of the powers that they have? Absolutely,’ he said.

I think we need to look at the private school system as well, that for young Aboriginal kids that want to live a life or play AFL, they have to move from their community. They have to give up so much of themselves.

‘And throughout that entire process, to have a crack at living your dream you have to almost distance yourself from who you are.

‘I think the programs that are associated with it, I think it all needs to be put under the spotlight because it’s all set up to disconnect people from their families, from their communities, from their identities just to succeed in a sporting sense.’

Abbatangelo was inundated with praise from viewers.

Another added: ‘Ben Abbatangelo was incredibly impressive on the panel. So passionate and didn’t pull any punches.’

A third wrote: ‘When will the trauma for Indigenous Australians ever end? Heartbreaking, soul-destroying, despairing.’

Ex-Hawthorn coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan allegedly pressured Indigenous player to get his partner to have an ABORTION – as AFL launches independent investigation into ‘harrowing and disturbing’ claims

By Shayne Budgen for Daily Mail Australia and AAP

Ex-Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson was allegedly part of a group of senior staff accused of telling an Indigenous player to pressure his partner into terminating her pregnancy, according to a report about a review commissioned by the club.

Staff involved in the allegations also include Clarkson’s his former assistant Chris Fagan, now the coach of the Brisbane Lions, according to the report by the ABC.

The report claims the incidents that will be revealed in the review occurred during the club’s golden run of success under Clarkson, when they won the 2008 grand final and three straight premierships from 2013-2015.

The most damning allegation in the report is that a player who was ‘delighted’ with news of his partner’s pregnancy was urged to tell her to abort the child and break up with her by a group of coaches including Clarkson and Fagan.

Clarkson has this afternoon refuted the allegations made against him and says he ‘looks forward to the opportunity to be heard as part of the AFL external investigation’.

The 48-year-old, who recently signed a five-year deal to North Melbourne, has had his start date of November 1 pushed back in the wake of this latest development.

Fagan has been left devastated by the accusations and said he had no knowledge of the alleged meetings raised by players in the report, according to the Herald Sun.

On Wednesday the Lions announced Fagan is taking a ‘leave of absence’ from the club so he can ‘fully cooperate’ with an independent investigation that has been announced by the AFL.

A Hawks player who is named only as ‘Ian’ in the report made startling accusations against the team’s most senior coaches.

‘Clarkson just leaned over me and demanded that I needed to get rid of my unborn child and partner,’ he claimed.

‘I was then manipulated and convinced to remove my SIM card from my phone so there was no further contact between my family and me.

‘He told me to kill my unborn child.’

It’s alleged Ian’s partner Amy was left in a state of deep shock when she heard the news.

‘He could barely get the words out and he seemed to be crying, and he quickly said that we needed to terminate the pregnancy and end the relationship,’ she said in the report.

Amy further claimed the club cut her off from Ian – leaving her unable to call or text him – for the first five months of her pregnancy, which impacted his mental health.

‘I will never forget that phone call or the heartbreak I felt in that moment. I was frozen on the spot, completely numb from what I had just heard Ian say.’

Amy claimed that when the couple fell pregnant again six months after the birth of their first child together, she felt like she had to abort the baby due to pressure from the club and her desire not to ‘lose Ian again’.

She went through with the termination and hasn’t been able to forgive herself since.

‘This is a sacred thing, the bond between mother and a child, and Hawthorn wiped their feet all over that,’ she said.

‘Hawthorn says it’s the family club, yet they tore ours apart.’

The Hawks also allegedly pressured other couples to separate early on in their pregnancies or soon after their children were born, the report claims, with two of those families given assistance with mental health support from the AFL Players’ Association.

It’s also claimed that the Hawks allegedly bullied First Nations players into choosing between their football careers and their families, and forced them to leave their homes so they could be relocated.

It’s alleged coaches pressured at least two young players to remove SIM cards from their phones in order to cut them off from their loved ones and force them to devote themselves entirely to the team.

On Wednesday, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachan confirmed the league will hold an independent and externally run investigation into the accusations.

It will consist of a four-person panel led by a highly regarded king’s counsel, with the make-up of the group to be made public by Thursday.

McLachlan described the ABC report as a ‘challenging, harrowing and disturbing read’.

‘I acknowledge the hurt, the anger and the grief of people who have shared their experiences and told their stories and all of those impacted,’ he said.

‘I want to say to the women and the partners and also the players who have shared their stories that our first priority is to you, and to provide the care and the support that you need.

‘You have been heard, and as a support and a community, we will do our best to wrap our arms around you.’

Victorian Sport Minister Steve Dimopoulos described the allegations as ‘extraordinarily serious’ and the AFL Players’ Association has called for an independent, ‘wide-ranging’ investigation into the allegations

The review was given to Hawthorn management two weeks ago and the club released the following statement on Wednesday morning.

‘Earlier this year the Hawthorn Football Club engaged external First Nations consultants to liaise with current and former First Nations players and staff to learn more about their experience at the club.

‘This important work has raised disturbing historical allegations that require further investigation. Upon learning of these allegations, the club immediately engaged AFL Integrity as is appropriate.

‘The club will continue to provide support to those who have participated in this process, and their wellbeing remains our priority.

‘While the process indicated the current environment at the club is culturally safe, it also recommended that some of the club’s current First Nations training and development programs should continue to be strengthened.

‘The club places the best interests and welfare of our players and staff as our number one priority.

‘Given the matters raised are confidential, the club will not provide any further comment at this time.’

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  • 26 минут назад 03.10.2022Sport
    JJ Watt is in tears as he reveals the Cardinals’ win means ‘a little more’ after heart scare

    JJ Watt said he appreciated the Cardinals win a little more after a scary and emotional week that saw the defensive star endure a heart scare.

    Watt took the field Sunday afternoon just three days after having his ‘heart shocked back into rhythm’ after going into Atrial fibrillation.

    Watt made the shocking admission at roughly midday ET on Sunday, and was on the field hours later for the Cardinals as they took on the Panthers, securing a 26-16 win.

    Speaking after the game, Watt was visibly upset and was in tears as he revealed the win was a nice end to an emotional week for him and his family.

    ‘Obviously, it’s been a very emotional week for my family, for my wife, for myself,’ Watt said.

    ‘So, I’m very happy to get a win today. Obviously, I’ve had a lot of emotions, but I’ve learned to appreciate the little things even more and so it’s nice to have a win today.’

    According to the CDC, Atrial fibrillation – commonly called ‘A-Fib’ or AF – is ‘when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way’.

    It occurs due to the blood not flowing as well as it should from the atria to the lower chambers of the heart, and it can occur as a one-off episode or as a permanent condition. It is currently unclear whether Watt’s situation is the former or latter.

    Watt said he considered not playing Sunday against the Panthers but after talking with cardiologists and electrophysiologists, he was told and assured multiple times that it was safe for him to play.

    ‘It’s tough,’ he said. ‘My wife was by my side all the time. So, that helped a lot, and then, just, I didn’t know what else to do. I have been playing this game my whole life. They said I was fine. So, once my heart was reset, they said, ‘You’re fine. If you feel comfortable.’

    ‘I’d probably be more uncomfortable sitting on my couch at home. You know, this is what I know. Right or wrong. Maybe that’s messed up, but if I was sitting at home watching the boys play and knowing that they said I was perfectly fine to play, I would have felt weird, so, I just did what I know.’

    He took to Twitter Sunday afternoon to break the news, claiming that he was only sharing the health update because it had been leaked to the media.

    He revealed the leak was especially upsetting as it had to have come from someone he ‘should trust’ and insisted he was irritated as he didn’t want it to take away from his team’s performance.

    ‘The only people that knew were people I should trust,’ Watt said. ‘And, so, injuries, I don’t care. If you leak injuries, whatever, that’s football. But this one was very emotional for me so it upset me.’

    He added: ‘Boys played good today. I don’t want to take away from them. A great game, the boys played a great game. [I’m] grateful to be out there with them. That’s partly the reason why I’m upset that it leaked because I didn’t want to take away from them.’

    Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury revealed didn’t know what atrial fibrillation was until he was told about Watt’s condition but said Sunday that tight ends coach Steve Heiden had it a couple times and explained it.

    ‘Just a scary deal for everybody,’ Kingsbury said. ‘But I’m glad it got figured out. He seems better than ever.’

    ‘Shows you what type of person and competitor, human being he is,’ Kingsbury said. ‘He’s special and we were all obviously worried when he wasn’t around for a couple of days getting the tests run and handling that but I think it was definitely inspiring for all of us and he played at a really high level and he just continues to amaze, the type of person and player he is.’

    The former Houston Texans star missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday for what the Cardinals reported as ‘calf/illness’ on their injury report.

    The NFL star has consistently struggled with injuries over the last few years of his career, missing 10 games of the 2021 season with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

    In 2019 he missed eight games with a torn pectoral, and in 2017 he fractured his tibia and had to sit out the final 11 games of the season.

    This heart issue is seemingly not something Watt wants to keep him sidelined, despite fans and fellow players appearing concerned in reply to his Sunday tweet.

    Quarterback Robert Griffin III wrote: ‘Life is bigger than football. Glad you are OK,’ while one fan commented: ‘You’re a young man who’s already made enough money to support your children’s children and you’re going to play 5 days after essentially having a heart attack? What’s the matter with you guys? This toxic masculinity is shameful.’

    Watt’s injury comes at a time when the NFL is under heavy scrutiny for allowing players to continue despite problems, after Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailova was allowed to play on Thursday night.

    The quarterback suffered a heavy hit to his head the previous Sunday but passed concussion checks to return four days later, only to suffer another serious blow, resulting in him being taken off on a stretcher.

    In the wake of that incident, the NFLPA fired the medic who cleared Tagovailova to play in the second game.

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  • 2 часа, 24 минуты назад 03.10.2022Sport
    Robin Goodfellow’s racing tips: Best bets for Monday, October 3

    Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow delivers his tips for Monday’s meetings at Windsor, Pontefract, Stratford and Wolverhampton.

    WINDSOR

    Newmarket – 2.02 Fanciful (nb); 5.32 Kirilenko (nap).

    PONTEFRACT

    Northerner – 1.25 Midnight Lion (nb); 3.05 Wynford (nap).

    STRATFORD

    WOLVERHAMPTON

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  • 2 часа, 24 минуты назад 03.10.2022Sport
    Amos Kipruto wins the men’s 2022 London Marathon as Yalemzerf Yehualaw clinches women’s gold

    After the fall came the rise. Not many athletes can climb up from a face-plant to win the London Marathon but Yalemzerf Yehualaw is rapidly emerging as a runner who does not conform to the usual standards.

    The Ethiopian’s victory across two hours, 17 minutes and 26 seconds on Sunday was staggering, both in her revival from tumbling over a speed bump six miles from the tape, and also in what it heralded, with the 23-year-old becoming the youngest winner of this race in history.

    That it was only her second ever marathon, six months after winning her first in Hamburg, would indicate she has a better shot than most in her stated ambition of one day breaking the 2:14.04 world record of Brigid Kosgei.

    ‘I had a dream to be a professional athlete and to run in these races,’ she said. ‘I am so happy to win on my first time in London. London people were shouting a lot and it inspired me.

    ‘I am thinking of the longer plan I have that I would like to break the world record.’

    Kosgei, the dominant Kenyan athlete, was among the many leading names who withdrew injured ahead of this race, which cleared a sizeable hurdle for Yehualaw. However, another presented itself after 20 miles, when she lost around 25metres on the leading group of eight when she fell hard over the speed bump.

    ‘I hurt my hip and knee,’ she said, before a member of her team confirmed she bumped her head as well. Despite that setback, she reeled the pack in and by the 24th mile it had become a two-woman showdown with the defending champion Joyciline Jepkosgei.

    That was when Yehualaw ran a storming mile of four minutes and 43 seconds, the quickest ever recorded in a women’s marathon, and left the Kenyan in her wake. Her time was the third fastest in the 42 years of the race.

    The men’s event was won by Amos Kipruto in 2:04.39 after breaking three miles from home. The leading British runner was ninth-placed Waynay Ghebresilasie, who carried the flag for Eritrea at London 2012 before seeking asylum here.

    The 28-year-old said: ‘Before the 2012 Olympics my country was not in a good situation, that’s why I stayed in Britain. I was in Sunderland and then moved to Birmingham and I’m in Scotland now.

    ‘My plan is to run at the World Championships and the Paris Olympics for Great Britain.’

    Meanwhile, Eilish McColgan, who pulled out because of blood sugar issues that are exacerbated over the marathon distance, set a new European 10km road record by clocking 30:18 at the Great Scottish Run.

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  • 2 часа, 25 минут назад 03.10.2022Sport
    JJ Watt returns to field just THREE DAYS after having his ‘heart shocked back into rhythm’

    JJ Watt took the field Sunday afternoon just three days after having his ‘heart shocked back into rhythm’ after going into Atrial fibrillation.

    Watt made the shocking admission at roughly midday ET on Sunday, and was on the field hours later for the Cardinals as they took on the Panthers.

    According to the CDC, Atrial fibrillation – commonly called ‘A-Fib’ or AF – is ‘when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way’.

    It occurs due to the blood not flowing as well as it should from the atria to the lower chambers of the heart, and it can occur as a one-off episode or as a permanent condition. It is currently unclear whether Watt’s situation is the former or latter.

    Yet Watt took his usual position Sunday on the defensive line for the Cardinals, with one total tackle at the time of writing.

    The three-time defensive player of the year said earlier Sunday that he was only sharing the health update because it had been leaked to the media.

    Writing to his 5.6million followers, he said: ‘I was just told somebody leaked some personal information about me and it’s going to be reported on today.

    ‘I went into A-Fib [Atrial fibrillation] on Wednesday, had my heart shocked back into rhythm on Thursday and I’m playing today. That’s it.’

    Watt is currently in his second season with the Cardinals, and appears to have been deemed healthy by medics to play in North Carolina for the Week 4 match-up.

    The former Houston Texans star missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday for what the Cardinals reported as ‘calf/illness’ on their injury report.

    The NFL star has consistently struggled with injuries over the last few years of his career, missing 10 games of the 2021 season with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

    In 2019 he missed eight games with a torn pectoral, and in 2017 he fractured his tibia and had to sit out the final 11 games of the season.

    This heart issue is seemingly not something Watt wants to keep him sidelined, despite fans and fellow players appearing concerned in reply to his Sunday tweet.

    Quarterback Robert Griffin III wrote: ‘Life is bigger than football. Glad you are OK,’ while one fan commented: ‘You’re a young man who’s already made enough money to support your children’s children and you’re going to play 5 days after essentially having a heart attack? What’s the matter with you guys? This toxic masculinity is shameful.’

    Watt’s injury comes at a time when the NFL is under heavy scrutiny for allowing players to continue despite problems, after Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailova was allowed to play on Thursday night.

    The quarterback suffered a heavy hit to his head the previous Sunday but passed concussion checks to return four days later, only to suffer another serious blow, resulting in him being taken off on a stretcher.

    In the wake of that incident, the NFLPA fired the medic who cleared Tagovailova to play in the second game.

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  • 2 часа, 25 минут назад 03.10.2022Sport
    Terry Bradshaw reveals he has battled bladder and skin cancer in the past year

    Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, has shared he has been diagnosed with cancer twice over the last year.

    The Fox NFL Sunday co-host and football favorite concerned fans during an appearance on the show last week and has now revealed he has endured bladder and skin cancer.

    ‘Last week on this show, I ran out of breath, and Howie (Long) helped me up, and a lot of people are asking what’s wrong with me, what’s happened to me physically,’ Bradshaw said on Sunday’s NFL pregame show.

    ‘I just want to address it and let you know what has happened in my life. In November, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

    ‘I went to the Yale University Medical Center – surgery, treatment. As of today, I am bladder-cancer free. That’s the good news.

    ‘Then in March, feeling good. I had a bad neck. I get an MRI. Now we find a tumor in my left neck.

    ‘And it’s a Merkel cell tumor, which is a rare form of skin cancer. So I had that surgery done at M.D. Anderson in Houston.’

    Bradshaw, 74, played 14 seasons for the Steelers and is a four-time Super Bowl Champion, a two-time Super Bowl MVP and one-time regular season MVP.

    ‘Folks, I may not look like my old self, but I feel like my old self. I’m cancer free, I’m feeling great. And over time, I’m going to be back to where I normally am.’

    Former New York Giant and fellow Hall of Famer Michael Strahan had kind words for Bradshaw. ‘You are the ultimate teammate. We love you,’ he said.

    ‘We’re just so happy that you’re here and we’re happy that you’re cancer-free and I think you’re going to give hope to a lot of people out there who are going through something similar.’

    In typical Fox NFL Sunday fashion, the compassionate, loving tone didn’t last long before Strahan injected some humor at the expense of the former Steeler.

    ‘I’m also just curious why it took this for people to ask what’s wrong with you after all these years?’

    Bradshaw and his colleagues erupted in laughter before host, Curt Menefee added: ‘There’s some of us that have been asking it for several years!’

    The 74-year-old is married to his wife, Tammy, and has two daughters, Rachel and Erin, and a step-daughter, Lacey.

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  • 2 часа, 25 минут назад 03.10.2022Sport
    Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters has to be held back from head coach John Harbaugh

    Peters reportedly left the field screaming before attempting to confront Harbaugh as Buffalo readied for the field goal which gave them a 23-20 victory on the road.

    The 29-year-old was then said to have thrown his helmet in fury as he watched on. Harbaugh was seen yelling, seemingly toward Peters, before CBS cameras cut back to Bills kicker, Tyler Bass.

    Cameras then turned to Peters, who was enraged, attempting to get closer to his head coach.

    Following the game, Harbaugh attempted to quash the disagreement as nothing more than a part of football.

    ‘Emotions run high. We’re on the same page,’ Harbaugh told reporters post-game.

    ‘We’ve got a great relationship, we’ve got an honest relationship. I love him, hope he still loves me, we’ll see.’

    Baltimore gave up 20 unanswered points after charging to an early 20-3 lead. What may have incensed Peters further was Harbaugh’s decision to go for a touchdown on fourth and goal on the Ravens’ last possession after their altercation.

    Instead of a chip shot field goal which could have given Baltimore a 23-20 lead with just over four minutes remaining, Harbaugh went for it from the two-yard line.

    ‘I thought it gave us the best chance to win the game,’ Harbaugh said. ‘It didn´t turn out that way and unfortunately, and we lost the game.

    ‘Hindsight, you take the points. But you look at it analytically, you´ll understand why we did it.’

    Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson threw an interception, giving Buffalo an opportunity to go down the field and win the game, which they duly took.

    Following the loss, Baltimore hold a 2-2 record, tied with Cleveland who sit first in the AFC North.

    Buffalo’s late victory avoided a two-game losing streak and keeps them on pace with AFC East rival, Miami at 3-1.

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Sport Hawthorn racism saga: Indigenous advocate Ben Abbatangelo weighs in on AFL scandal on The Project